For Immediate Release
March 29, 2023
Saskatchewan—In a misguided effort to cut wait times for certain orthopedic surgeries in Saskatchewan, the SaskParty government has signed a $6 million contract with a Calgary-based private clinic to perform hip and knee replacements. The deal with Canadian Surgical Solutions Ltd., represented by former SaskParty Finance Minister Kevin Doherty, was announced on March 28th. SEIU-West believes the most effective way to reduce surgical wait times is to invest in the public health care system in our own province.
“If the provincial government can find six million dollars to hand over to a private clinic in Alberta, why can’t those funds be invested in the system in our own province?” asks SEIU-West President, Barbara Cape. “This goes well beyond their previous attempts at surgical privatization within Saskatchewan especially when they have likely been lobbied by a former SaskParty MLA to get this profitable contract for Canadian Surgical Solutions.”
Saskatchewan residents have some of the longest wait times for hip and knee replacements in the country. According to a 2021 report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, residents waited for approximately 230 days for a new hip, and 416 days for a knee.
“Why are these doctors allowed to operate these for-profit clinics outside the public system when these are clearly medically necessary procedures?” Cape asks. “This whole scheme reeks of profiteering off of the pain of patients and that is wrong on so many levels especially when you consider these procedures cost between 20 to 28 thousand dollars each.”
There’s also the simple matter of who is responsible for aftercare with these surgeries. We ship people to Alberta to have the surgery, but they return home, to Saskatchewan, to recover. If there are complications, they must enter the public system in Saskatchewan for care. The initial surgery should never be done out of province. Instead, that money should be invested in the public system here at home.
Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West) represents over 13,000 people across Saskatchewan. They include people who work in health care, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes, and other sectors. They are joined by one colour—purple—and one union, SEIU-West. Visit PurpleWorks.ca to find out more about SEIU-West members.
For more information, contact:
Communications Coordinator, SEIU-West
306-652-1011 ext. 2244